‘It never gets easier’: Baton Rouge COVID nurses describe combating fourth surge

Local News

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – “Mentally, physically, emotionally, it never gets easier,” said Ryan Broussard, a COVID-19 nurse at Our Lady of the Lake.

Broussard is a recent nursing school graduate and he is starting his career in the Covid unit.

“We’re getting to the point where we are having to put people on breathing machines,” he said.

Louisiana hospitalization is breaking records. During the governor’s Friday press conference, the state department of health is anticipating a 100 patient increase on Saturday. This would be the fifth day of a record-breaking peak for hospitalizations.

According to Angie Clouatre, Chief Nursing Officer at Mid-City Baton Rouge General said nurses are volunteering to pick up extra shifts due to the high demand of patients.

Baton Rouge General and Our Lady of the Lake are adding on additional staff in response to the fourth surge.

“With the staff that came in, it gives us the ability to open two more nursing units,” said Clouatre.

“We had to open two more ICUs in the past two weeks,” said Broussard.

According to Dr. Joesph Kanter, the State Health Officer, 50 hospitals around the state have asked for assistance due to short staffing and more people headed to the ICU.

“If you are sick do not hesitate to go to the hospital. But if you have very minor symptoms or just need a test, please try to avoid the ER,” Dr. Kanter said. “We’re trying to preserve the very limited capacity the ERs have right now for patients who truly do require their services right now.”

The health care heroes said this surge is mentally difficult for a few reasons. For one, they are watching the delta variant infect younger people and secondly, people are getting sick faster. 

“It’s a different sting to it,” said Clouatre. “A lot of patients are my staff’s age.”

Both nurses agree while this is a difficult time, it is the support from the community that keeps them positive.

“We all do everything we can when we walk through these doors,” said Broussard.

“For us, this is our calling, our calling for greatness and we will help as many patients as we can,” said Clouatre.” The good in it is the humanity.”

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